Home > newsroom > Page
Committee Questions the Interior Department’s Lack of Transparency and Objectivity in Animas Spill Response


WASHINGTON, D.C., December 9, 2015 -

During the Committee’s oversight hearing on the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Role in the EPA’s Animas Spill, Committee members raised concerns about the DOI’s response to the spill, the lack of transparency and objectivity and the narrow scope of the Bureau of Reclamation’s (BOR) report.  Secretary Sally Jewell’s testimony four months after the spill raised several concerns, including:

  • Secretary Jewell admitted to Rep. Fleming (R-LA) that despite DOI’s jurisdiction over federal and tribal lands impacted by the spill, she did not visit any of the impacted sites following the spill.
  • Secretary Jewell’s repeated insistence that the BOR report’s scope was strictly technical in nature and was agreed upon between the agencies last August differed drastically from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s insistence that the outcome of the BOR report would hold people accountable and examine the criminal, civil, or negligent nature of their actions.
  • To Rep. Beyer’s (D-VA) concerns, Secretary Jewell oddly claimed that there was no criminal activity – despite repetitively testifying that the report did not examine the possible criminal or negligent nature of the actions that lead to the spill and that DOI didn’t have authority to investigate such matters. Furthermore, DOI admitted that it did not request information about the internal deliberations at EPA that led to the spill.
  • The Committee had requested documents and information on DOI’s role in early September, and within recent few weeks received thousands of pages, including nearly 300 pages of heavily redacted documents, underscoring concerns of DOI’s lack of transparency.

This afternoon, Chairman Bishop requested a GAO report on the scope, objectivity, and thoroughness of the BOR report.


Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

Latest News

Bishop Statement on Redefining EPA’s WOTUS Rule

Today, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) issued the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to redefine the “Waters of the United State...... Read more

Bipartisan Bill to Protect Endangered Fish Species in Pacific Northwest Heads to President Trump for Signature

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 3119, the Endangered Salmon Predation Prevention Act. This bipartisan bill provides states and tribes with the necessary tools to humanely manage sea...... Read more

Bishop Statement on House Passage of Bill Benefitting Indian Tribes

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) issued the following statement today after the House passed S. 245, which benefits Indian tribes developing energy resources and forest m...... Read more

View All News

Calendar

No upcoming scheduled events

View All Events